Inspired by my travels to India during my 20's, 30's and 40's and the work I made during my time as Artist in Residence in an Artist's village on the outskirts of Calcutta, I decided to write an article about Jiddu Krishnamurti, an Indian philosopher and religious teacher who died on February 17th 1986 at his home in Ojai, California aged 90.
The impact that his philosophical teachings had on my young mind was profound. Even at the age of 13 I felt a sense of privilege to have had such important moments of contact while he was at the school and being able to speak freely with him.
The school was founded in 1969 by the Krishnamurti foundation to inquire into the fundamental question of whether a community of staff and students could live and learn together to free themselves from their background and all forms of conditioning.
Throughout his life Krishnamurti never sought publicity, yet for fifty years thousands of people from all over the world regarded him as one of the great religious teachers, and his many books, translated into many languages had a wide circulation. "Krishnamurti's Notebook (1976) in particular, is a remarkable mystical document.
Born on May 25th, 1895, at Mandanapalle, a small town in South India, Krishnamurti was the eighth child of a Brahmin family of ten. His mother died when he was young and in 1909 his father, a retired civil servant and Theosophist of long standing, went with his four surviving sons to live at Adyar, the international headquarters of the Theosophical society at Madras.
Krishnamurti and his brother were adopted in their youth by Dr Annie Besant, then president of the Theosophical Society. Dr Besant and others proclaimed that Krishnamurti was to be a world teacher whose coming the Theosophists had predicted. In preparation a world-wide organisation called the Order of the Star in the East was formed and the young Krishnamurti made it's head.
In 1929, however Krishnamurti renounced the role that he was expected to play, dissolved the Order with it's huge following of 46,000 and returned all the money and property that had been donated for this work. The inside story of those extraordinary years was not fully revealed until he allowed his letters to be published in 1975 in "Krishnamurti: The years of awakening by Mary Lutyens. ( 1908 - 1999 ).
In 1983 a second volume of his biography appeared, Krishnamurti:
"The years of Fulfilment" taking the story of his life up to 1980.
From then onwards for nearly sixty years until his death in 1986, he travelled throughout the world talking to large audiences and to individuals about the need for a radical change in mankind. Each year a larger portion of young people attended his talks and scientists and psychologists became interested in his ideas of time, thought and death.
Krishnamurti is regarded globally as one of the greatest thinkers and religious teachers of all time. He did not expound any philosophy or religion, but rather talked of the things that concern all of us in our everyday lives, of the problems of living in modern society with it's violence and corruption, of the individuals' search for security and happiness, and the need for mankind to free itself from inner burdens of fear, anger, hurt, and sorrow. He explained with great precision the subtle workings of the human mind, and pointed to the need for bringing to our daily life a deeply meditative and spiritual quality.
Krishnamurti had no permanent home and the minimum of personal possessions. Foundations in England, the USA and India, made themselves responsible for the publishing of his books, and for administering the funds voluntarily contributed for the propagation of his teaching and the running of the schools he founded.
There remains a thriving Krishnamurti school in Hampshire England, one in Ojai California and six in India.
The Indian drawings I made in 1993 at the Artist's village called Artsacre, can be seen on my website with information about my exhibition there with the British High Commission in Calcutta who were my sponsors.